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The First Confederate Postage Stamps

(From data collected by Mr. August Diets, of Richmond, Va., including new information frorm the archives of Thomas De La Rue <5’ Co., Ltd., of London.)

T the outbreak of the Civil War the postmasters of the Confederate States were suddenly required to

meet the demand for something to take the place of the United States postage stamps, and the crude, over-night, and mostly typeset, “Local Provisionals” were printed. Collectors have listed I44 varieties of these, nearly all of which are now great rarities. Some of them were envelope post-marks, others were adhesives. These provisionals were used until displaced by the first General Issue of Confederate States stamps, produced in 1861. The first two of these stamps. were followed by three others in I862, both issues being hastily lithographed by Hoyer and Ludwig, of Richmond, Va., for use pending the arrival of the plates

and stamps that had been ordered from Thomas De La Rue & Co., of London.

The Confederate Stamps Produced by Thomas.De La Rue & Co., Ltd., of London

The first edition of the De La Rue stamps was the well known light blue Five Cent denomination, bearing the portrait of Jelierson Davis, and issued in 1862. The original die was cut in relief, on steel, and is still preserved in the De La Rue archives. In engraving and impression this was probably the finest surface-printed stamp that had been issued by any country up to this time. The archives of De La Rue now reveal that the first lot of this issue was dispatched, under the care of Major B. F. Ficklin, on January 30th, I862. It consisted of 5,000,000 stamps (Five Cent), together with one electrotype printing plate of 400 multiples, a supply of paper, blue printing ink and a perforating machine. This shipment never reached ' its destination, the blockade runner “Bermuda," which carried it having been captured by a Federal war ship. It is said that the stamps and plates were thrown overboard to avoid falling into the hands of the enemy. A subsequent shipment (March Ist, I862) of I2 million stamps (probably all 5c stamps) was safely delivered, through the port of Vi/ilmington, N. C. These stamps, known to collectors

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J O U R N A L 147


before there was opportunity to print from them, and no one seems to have an impression from either the Ten Cents or the Two Cents plate. Nor, indeed, is there any record that the One Cent Calhoun stamps were ever used.

Frank Baptist in 1862

Detailed from Parker's Light Artillery to report to the PostOffice Department for service at Archer & Daly's, where he printed the Five Cexts blue from the De la Rue plates.

From the De La Rue electros the “Local Edition” of the Five Cent blue stamp was printed on an old Washington hand-press by Frank Baptist, a practical printer, detailed from Parker's Light Artillery to the Treasury Department to serve under Archer & Daly, of Richmond, Va., who held the contract for printing the Confederate money and stamps. As the perforating machine probably went overboard or was captured with the blockade runner, these stamps were all “imperforate.” We are glad to be able to include in this Exhibit a photograph of Frank Baptist, who, now (1923) in his seventies, is still living in Richmond. Archer & Daly were also steel plate printers and made the steel-plate issues of the final editions of Confederate stamps in 1863.

At the evacuation of Richmond the De La Rue plates were captured and taken away by soldiers of an Ohio regiment. What became of them no one knows, but a sectional part of the altered Five Cent plate is in the State Museum in Columbus, O. By the courtesy of the curator of that institution this fragment was loaned to Mr. Dietz. He sought out his old friend Baptist to make some imprints from the plate for his book, now nearing completion. We include in this Exhibit a photo of one of these prints. Note the autograph of Mr. Baptist. It is interesting to know that fifty-seven years after his first printing from the original plate Mr. Dietz was able to have Mr. Baptist make these souvenir reprints. This fragment is part of the De La Rue plates shipped from London, November 7th, 1862. The print shows that a change had been made, by an engraver, from Five Cents to Ten Cents.

Conducting a Post-Office Department Under Difficulties

Using Paint for Printing Ink

The Confederate Post-Office Department used every available process—typography, lithography and steel plates. There is quite a difference between the De La Rue product produced from the original plates and the stamps printed locally from the De La Rue electrotypes. The London stamps are sharp and clearly printed, on a crisp, calendered paper; while the Richmond printings are much coarser in appearance, and on a heavier, rougher-surfaced paper. They just had to use any paper they could get, and Mr. Baptist told Mr. Dietz that he resorted to all manner of expedients for ink —sometimes using the pigment of paint and grinding it in coarse varnish or turpentine—the result, of course, was a variable product, but the work was remarkably well done, considering the trying conditions.

Printing and Fighting Alternately

Richmond, being the Capital of the Confederate States (1861 to 1865), was the objective of many raids and it was not unusual for young Baptist, the soldier-printer, to be called upon to drop his stamp printing to assist in repulsing a raid.

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Set No Price 1119 Dutch Indies 1899-1900 10c on 10c, to 50c on 50c. . . . . . . 6 .15 *1224 Eastern Silesia 1920 Surcharged on Czecho-Slovakia 38' 2.00 1650 Ecuador 1899-1921 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 .50 *1313 - 1908 1c to 1S complete. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 .80 1156 * * 1908 1, 2, 20, 50c, 1S . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 .45 1063 Epirus Argyrocas

tron Issue 1914 1L to 5d, complete. . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 .50 *575a French Colonies 1872-861, 1, 2, 5, 5, 15, 40c. . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 2.00 *215 Gabon 1910 1, 2, 4, 5c. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 .20 *767 Germany 1880 3, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50p . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 .65

*1635 “ Occupation 1920 Eupen and Malmedy, 5p on 5c
to 30p on 25c . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 .25
933 Gold Coast 1883-91 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 .25

1560 Greece Charity 1917-18 Surcharged on Postage 1L on
1L to 30L on 30L . . . . . . . . . . 9 .50
*221 Grenada 1883-89. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 1.25
*781 Guatemala 1894 1c on 2c, 6c on 150c, 10c on 200c 3 .50
593 Hayti 1893 1, 2, 5, 7c. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 .15
*2005 44 1898 1c to 20c. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 .30
*1566 Honduras 1898 1c to 1p. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 .50

*1553 Hungary 1918-19Issue of the Republic, 2f to 10k
complete . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 .25

* 1565 * * 1919 Issue of the Republic, 2f to 10k
complete . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 .35



Special Delivery Stamp

60 1897 $1 carmine and rose. 6.00 2.50 61 “ $2 orange and yellow 12.50 5.00 Unused, in good condition, but without

gum. *

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J O U R N A L 149



$y Edward I. Clarke

MINISTRY OF OFFENSE AND DEFENSE INCOGNITO, March Ime, 1923. Baron Keepthakale, Minister of Treasury. Excellency: It is with deepest degradation of heart that I tell you dread news that threatens the very life of our noble Fatherland. Both branches of our valiant army have even this day informed me that unless they shall be paid in money by the end of month, they shall resign themselves, and leave our devoted country at the mercy of the tyrant and invader. Personally have I appealed to the patriotism and better nature of both of them; but, alas, without avail. They place ever the greed of gold before their love of country on the trifling excuse that they have no pay received for two years. With deepest regrets and salutations, (Signed) O. U. SOFJOBBA, General. POSTCRIPT NO. I. Mons. Screwski, Chief of Revenues. What exists not, I can no longer disburse. Is it that a tax can be levied to support our noble army? KEEPTHAKALE, 3/2/23

STATE OF SUMWHERSTEIN Office of Collector of Taxes, Revenues and Customs, Department of Police and Secret Service To H. M. Exhobo the First, of Sumwherstein. All Highest Majesty: Your humble and devoted servant begs to beseech your divine attention to the appended epistle from Your Majesty's Treasury. Alas that our noble country should fall into such parlous and disreputable state. But it is so, and a tax for our brave army may not be. It is impossible. The wherewithal is entirely lacking. I have called upon ten of our taxpayers, and they all decline to pay more. Nay, they even have the temerity to hint at treason and the overthrow of your Gen

erous Majesty should I more taxes levy. The two other taxpayers are even now in the state of bankruptedness, and I fear we shall not realize sufficient to meet their general taxes. If I levy more tax, they revolt! If I arrest for treason, then they can pay no tax at all. What do I do? Your Majesty's humble servant, (Signed) SCREWSKI. POSTSCRIPT NO. I Baron Keepthakale: Commanded that you immediately sell abroad a bond issue to pay the army. EXHOBO, King. MINISTRY OF THE TREASURY INCOGNITO, March Iome, 1923. H. M. Exhobo the First, of Sumwherstein. All Highest Majesty: I bow to august commands, but what cannot be done, may not so be. We can no longer sell our beautifully lithographed bonds in the foreign countries. The thrice-debased foreigner now demands a security, and Your Majesty knows that we have nothing upon which there is not already a third mortgage. If Your Majesty's humble servant may make suggestion. We shall issue a new set of postage stamps. All very pretty views and portraits of Majesty and ministers. We sell these to stamp collectors all over whole world. They sell like what Yankee-Americans call the “heated pancakes,” and the revenues will most large be. Your Majesty's humble servant, (Signed) KEEPTHAKALE,

POSTSCRIPT NO. I. Baron. General Sof jobba: Keepthakale's suggestion looks O.K. Tell the army. Maybe a postage stamp showing the army in action would softsoap them a bit. * EXHOBO, King. POSTCRIPT No. 2. Col. Cancelum, P.M. General. Within correspondence respectfully sent to issue new stamps to pay the army. I





make great appeal to both of them with offers to portray them in grandeous uniform on new stamps; but, alas, they both declaim that international fame mean nothing in their young lives, and they insist still on the money.

SOFJOBBA, General.

DEPARTMENT OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS - INCOGNITO, March 15, 1923. H. M. Exhobo the First, of Sumwherstein. All Highest Majesty: Humble servant bows to commands to create new postage stamp issue. But difficulties are many and unfortunate. Engraving and printing will much money need, and there is abroad much prejudice against the new issue. The Scott and Gibbons and Champion and Senff of verity will proclaim issue unnecessary and speculative. They threaten not to catalogue and tell collectors do not buy, and so work much hardship upon our noble State. I think better plan is have highly disastrous conflagration of post office propaganda, which burn up all stamps of small value. We then surcharge many of high value to make place of missing ones. So we make absolutely legitimate issue, which called provisional, and if we make big song that only small number issued, we can sell many sheets for much price. Awaiting Majesty's further command. CANCELUM, Colonel & PMG. POSTSCRIPT NO. I. Col. Cancelum :

Get Busy. We need the money. - EXHOBO, King.


DEPARTMENT OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS INCOGNITO, Kingdom of Sum wherstein, April 1st, 1923. CIRCULAR No. 1965235. To All Stamp Dealers in U.S.A.

Honored Sirs:

It is with deepest regret that I announce highly disastrous conflagration in our illustrious kingdom, which destroy much post office property and all stock of small priced stamps. So much so that to meet urgent

needs of our noble postal services we have to make provisional surcharge stamps of denominations from 4 to 99 cents. We make only very few of each kind so they soon be very scarce and high price. That you make big profit from this legitimately authentic issue, I offer you surcharged stamps in big 100 stamp sheets at two times face value. Owing to misfortunate carless of printers assistant, some sheets go into press wrong way, and surcharge come out downside up. These I supply at four faces. If you shall be interested in missing letters which from the surcharge type shall drop, you will so tell me and perhaps I find some at little higher price. If it be esteemed desire that stamps be genuine postal used, I shall be prepare to send you many large rocks by registered letter post and place on wrapper all stamps you shall select and postmark with gentle clearness. For this I charge you extra only 10 cents each Crown for wrapping paper and ink. The rocks I shall freely present you. The money you shall first send me by draft of the American Newyork Dollar, and make pay to Colonel Cancelum himself and not to office of posts. I have honor to be obedient servantly, CANCELUM, Colonel


DEPARTMENT OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS INCOGNITO, March 25th, 1923. CIRCULAR No. 1965236 VERY SECRET. To all Postmasters: You will receive here with supply of new Provisional stamps of denomination of: %, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 17%. 20, 22%, 25, 27%, 29, 30, 30%, 35%, 41, 47, 49, 51%, 53, 55, 60, 61, 69%, 73%, 75, 78, 79, 81, 89, 90, 97 and 90 cents. You will quickly gather up all stocks of present stamps of denomination less than One Crown and send to me in special sealed envelope, marking in top left-hand corner the word “FIRE.” Acknowledge, act quickly, and tell nobody. CANCELUM, Colonel. Postmaster-General.

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